Encyclopedia Home / A / Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

  • Definition

    An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.

    Alternative Names

    Aneurysm - aortic; AAA

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The exact cause is unknown, but risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm include:

    • Smoking
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Male gender
    • Emphysema
    • Genetic factors
    • Obesity

    An abdominal aortic aneurysm can develop in anyone, but is most often seen in males over 60 who have one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture and break open.